Gilead has announced that there have been tampered with and counterfeit versions of the company’s HIV treatment drug Biktarvy and its HIV treatment and prevention drug Descovy circulating in the U.S.
The company said in a statement that distributors that were not authorized by Gilead to sell its brand of medications had sold the counterfeit drugs to pharmacies where Gilead drug bottles had been tampered with.
Counterfeit drugs could be serious and life-threatening, the company warned. The fakes could have a different medicine or be mixed with other ingredients. Additionally, these fake or tampered with drugs may have been made in unhygienic conditions.
Gilead notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the situation and alerted the impacted pharmacies. The biopharmaceutical company said it's continuing to work with authorities to remove the tampered bottles from circulation.
“The safety of individuals taking Gilead medication is always our first priority,” said Dr. Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer at Gilead Sciences. “We are taking aggressive action to ensure that healthcare providers and people who rely on our medicines can confidently distinguish authentic Gilead products from counterfeit drugs.”
In its statement, Gilead described authentic Biktarvy tablets as “purplish-brown, capsule-shaped pills with ‘9883’ on one side and ‘GSI’ on the other.”
Descovy tablets should be blue and rectangular with ‘225’ on one side and ‘GSI’ on the other.
Those who may have received the fake or tampered bottles are asked to report the medicine to their doctor and pharmacy. They are also encouraged to contact Gilead.